Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The World Is Upside Down

I don't have time for a full post because I have to get ready for work in a few minutes, but this needs to get out there. So I'll let the Business Insider speak for me (bolding original):
Fellow entrepreneurs, Americans, anyone who still cares about this country at all -- this is a must read: By the end of this week, the US government very likely will have the power to lock up US citizens for life at Guantanamo Bay or other military prisons -- without charge and without trial. This means that, in the near future, a controversial Twitter post, attending a peaceful protest, or publishing an anti-Congress critique or anti-TSA rant on Google+ could land you "indefinite detention" for life, in the wording of the bill. No access to a lawyer, no access to trial.
 It's called the National Defense Authorization bill. If this thing passes, that's it. America will be on par with countries like Saudi Arabia and China for civil liberties.

Part of the offensive language is section 1031 of the bill:
“Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force…includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons…Detention under the law of war without trial.”
And an amendment to remove the provisions that define "indefinite detention" has failed. I repeat, it's failed. Right now, there's only a handful of Republicans speaking out against this bill. Yes, that's right, Republicans.

It's set to pass. If it passes, it doesn't matter where you are. If you're on American, Canadian, or the soil of some other foreign nation: if you're an American citizen, and you piss off your own government, you're going to vanish down the rabbit hole into Gitmo or some other secret military prison. And there's nothing nobody can do about it. It passed the House already - it did so back in May.

Boy, I wish I was making this up. But I'm not. Obama has threatened a veto of the bill, but this is still scary. Have you heard anything about this on the media? No, of course not - just business about Michael Jackson's doctor or if Cybermonday made expected profits.

Meanwhile, your freedoms are being stripped away.

Contact your senators and representatives. This is beyond the pail unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And Here's That Family Shit Again...

Enigma's had a rough day today. So you know what that means, don't you?

That's right! It's time to pull up the scratching post and eviscerate me some Republican stupidity. So go ahead and pull up a seat - today's victims privileged assholes pretending to be victims are Focus on Patriarchy, and the application that they ask for college students to fill out for their "Focus Leadership Institute", which, as you can probably tell by the name, is a very reputable institution.

So, let's have some fun, shall we?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blogging about Mental Illness

JT Eberhard has post over on Free Thought blogs about why the skeptic community needs to start dealing with mental illnesses. He's calling on people to blog about their mental illnesses if they have them, or do research and blog on them, so just that it gets out there.

I've blogged before about my mental illness, so I don't have a great deal to say here other than JT Eberhard is a brave, brave man and anyone who's willing to get out there and spread the word and talk about their experiences is a person hero of mine. So go! Get out there, spread the word, let the world know that we're here, and some of us need to be helped. We all need to be respected. We have a right to live a the same life that a neurotypical person lives, without being judged as "lazy" or "demon-possessed" and treated accordingly.

On the subject of my own illness, here's my post:

When I'm long gone, preferably of old age (unless mind uploading gets here first; c'mon baby, I'm holding out for you), I want a tombstone. It doesn't have to be very big, just large enough to fit two words, to stand in stark contrast with the rest of the cemetery:

"Bipolar Survivor."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

#Occupy: Bahrain


To the average American, the "Arab spring" is this thing we see on TV between reports about how loopy and spiteful our congress is being and what celebrities are dating who or going into rehab. We saw videos of Egypt, and we saw videos of Libya, and we got some info, but not much.

Of course, we're not seeing videos from Syria. We're getting the occasional new feed, but really, not much. Syria isn't an ally of the the United States, but neither was Libya, and Egypt was neutral at best. So, it's no surprise that we hear about that.

But what about the places that are the ally of the United States?

Let's take a look at what the "Arab spring" looks like in Bahrain, a close ally of the United States, and one generally considered a "liberal" Arab country (I suppose when your neighbor is Saudi Arabia, any morals more advanced than the stone age can be considered liberal). Keep in mind - the United States supports the regime in Bahrain.

WARNING: The video below the fold is extremely graphic; it contains graphic in images of death, mutilation, and general mercenary brutality. And even this disclaimer won't prepare you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a Nasty Little Asshat

And now - misogyny from a different continent!

New Economic Policy

I remember back when the TEA Party started spreading this toxic and stupid meme (... one of them), and really, it shouldn't surprise me that some small business owners, especially in the Deep South, are picking up on it.

U.S. Cranes, L.L.C, has a new company policy. One that they picked up from the TEA Party more than likely. Owner William Looman has explicitly stated that "we are not hiring until Obama is gone."

Well, if I ever need a crane service, I know where I'm *not* looking.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hearing Voices Is Not Funny

Hey, hey - I've got a joke. You know, you're never alone. See, you've got plenty of cancer cells in your body to keep you company. See! It's funny! It really is!

Cancer survivors and cancer patients, and the families of cancer patients and survivors, probably wouldn't think so. Not with all the heartache, the pain and suffering, the hurt, watching your love one suffer, and the expenses that one goes through when they develop cancer. Unless you're into a particular set of gallows humor that isn't about being funny directly but through reactions, you're not likely to find that one either. Someone who lost a limb, or all their hair while undergoing chemo, or the family someone who actually died from metastasized cancer, likely would not find that joke funny. And it's doubly offensive unless you yourself are a cancer survivor, in which case, if you did make it, it's not so much attempting to be funny as it is being darkly ironic. But until you do, you'll never know. And it becomes a tasteless joke for that reason.

If that joke is not funny, and we can all agree that it's not funny, why is it funny to comment how you're never alone because "you've got the voices in your head to keep your company?" I see it on tee-shirts, some funny person pops up with a joke about hearing voices and never being lonely because of it on my news feed every so often. There are mainstream jokes about it. For some reason, everyone thinks that it's okay to mock people who have a mental illness, but not people who have cancer. Joking about people who are psychotic should be every degree the dark humor that joking about cancer is, but it's not. Joking about sick people, who's lives are in danger, is not funny. Whether it's from cancer or from danger of suicide, the end result is the same - death is death.

Do you really want to know what it's like to hear voices, and see things? It's not worth joking about unless you've actually experienced it, right? Of course. Let me tell you what it's like. Because it's not funny. It's scary. It's truly, honestly scary.

The Polichicks

There are days when I feel like Hank Hill. The best I can manage is "Damn it, Bobby." There are other days when I wish I could muster that scream he does; because if I could, I'd certainly use it here.

Behold, the horror that is the Polichicks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Word Game

Redefining words is fun.

You know what's even more fun that redefining words?

Changing or restricting their meaning so you can use them to silence opposition.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unleash the Dogs of War!

Somethings never sleep.

At it's height, the British Empire never slept. It spanned the entire globe, and while it might be dark in one place of the empire, it was day somewhere else. The Mongol Empire was like this, too.

Modern businesses don't sleep. If you want to stay ahead in this world, you have to be going 25/8, but because there's only 24 hours in a day (23.24 hours) and 7 days in a week, you have to settle.

Right wing lies never sleep. Christmas never seems to sleep either. And the combination of the two, while it spends most of the year lying low, seems like it kicks into gear earlier an earlier each year. I log onto Facebook this morning and I see a couple of complaints about how we're taking the "Christ" out of Christmas. How we're censoring Christmas, or how we're discriminating against Christians. That's right, kiddos - it's more than just a privilege check. 'Tis the season - JENKINS, UNLEASH THE HOUNDS! THIS MEANS WAR!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stories About Atheism

There's a current meme going around the internet right now about how people became, or came by, atheism. Everyone is an individual, everyone's story is different, and I'm at least partially of the belief that this has to do with the push-back against the way that atheists are continually characterized.

So, here's my story - how Enigma became an atheist:

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Not Getting Any Younger...

I woke up today without any kind of pains at all. Having gone out for a good walk, and then having taken a warm shower, my back and neck hurt like nothing else.

I wonder if this has to do with the jokes I was making last night about may age; I'm the oldest in my group of friends, and I always have been. Regardless which group I'm with, with the exception of one (where I'm in the middle) and my writer's workshop (where I am the youngest), this is universally the case.

You joke about your age (When you're 19, I'm 30. When you're 20, I'm 30. And when you're 30, you'll understand why I'm still 30), but boy does it ever come back to bit you.

C'mon. I'm not even 28 yet. I have no right hurting like this.

Nor smelling like this. Icy-Hot stinks, by the way. If you don't know this already, consider yourself informed.

Nothing else to mention - just this, apropos of nothing.

Babys, Gender, and Spending

A friend of my (actually a former senior that I taught when I was doing my student teaching) is pregnant. I learned some time ago through facebook status updates - she comes up on my news feed once in a while, even if I rarely, if ever, comment on her page. I'm happy for her, but I haven't said anything yet because I'm waiting for the baby to be born before I comment (you know how modern parents are - you people post pictures of your spawn all over the place of FB. I got those things polluting my newsfeed from beginning to end - and I love it, because babies are so damn adorable. So don't stop, no matter what anyone tells you.) Both she and her boyfriend are pretty people; I don't doubt for a minute that her baby will be pretty, too. I'm very happy for them, despite holding my tongue and not having said anything. It's an exciting time for them both.

That said, I'm of the belief that if you want to have a child, you should adopt. There's 6 billion and counting, and soon, we'll have shot well past critical mass and well into a Malthusian catastrophe. This is especially true when you talk about all of the wonderful children - teens and tweens included, even though they repeatedly get overlooked in favor of infants and toddlers - who could use a home with loving parents, but constantly get stiffed by a messed up system. But that's not what someone who's happy they're going to have a child - and who always wanted to have children - wants to hear, so I reserve my opinion. Mothers, especially young ones like her (she's younger than I am - remember, I taught this girl as a senior in HS, 2 years ago, so I'd be shocked if she was 20), have enough problems, without someone they only knew as a student teacher coming in and telling them how to do something.

So, I've been updated about her journey for the last few months. I know she was hoping for a boy; today, she found out that they were having a baby girl. The desire to have a specific child alone is slightly worrisome (I'm a fine one to talk; I'll get into this later), but what really struck me - and it was probably because I was reading something about implicit sexism/misogyny at the same time - was one of her comments on the thread:

"I don't look forward to how expensive girls are compared to boys."

Of course, this kick-started my thinking (literally; it was like a boot to the back of the brain), and I got to thinking: why?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Human Black Box: Devil's Advocate (part 5)

It's been a while, but that's only because life's gotten in the way. In the last installment, Zira was attempting to find her way into Zygote, and branch out to make the proper connections - in the world of transhumanity, it's very much a case of not what you know but who you know, and knowing the right people goes a long way to making the proper connections, especially when you go digging for men that seemed to have multiple lives and multiple identities...

Today's installment sees things heat up a bit; perhaps a bit literally in some senses...I present for your consumption Human Black Box: Devil's Advocate Part 5. As usual, you can find the character list here, and the archives here.

Due to recent outside interest in the story, I may split the difference and move Human Black Box to it's own blog, and leave this blog for just the political stuff. It'll depend upon how things go in the future, but I wanted to let everyone know that this is a possibly bouncing around in my head now. Anyway, let's roll that beautiful bean footage...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ur-Fascism: 28 Signs, 2 Essays

And it goes without saying that the Untied States pegs all 28 of them.